Worldstone Saga by Shadow Blast
The Headmaster slowly approaches the Throne, with his subjects behind him. The entire Royal Family stood behind the Throne, while the King's advisors and the Imperial officials flanked the left and right side of the Throne. The King of Krinostice sat in his Throne, silent like the others, except with a light smile on his face. Air of heavy anticipation floats suspended among the people.
The Headmaster cleared his throat and said, "This is a grand sight indeed! The King, the advisors, all the Imperial officials, all of the Royal family, all gathered at the Throne! You must excuse my voice if it sounds shaky, but I am very nervous. I did not expect such overwhelming attendance."
The King smiled and said, "Nonsense. The Royal Court Magi of Krinostice are among the most respected members of the Palace, and all of you deserve as much attention as you can humanly muster, especially when it concerns what you claim to be a "great discovery". Please show us this breakthrough in your research."
"Yes, of course," said the Headmaster, "the Orb, please." Three of his subjects silently brought forth an altar carved with indecipherable runes and a crystalline globe resting on top of it.
The Headmaster cleared his throat once again. "Now, for those of you that are present and versed in astronomy and magic, you know that this orb and the altar is the instruments used by us, the Royal Court Magi of Krinostice, to observe the sun, the moon, the stars, and anything that lies too far beyond human reach. Yes?" Some of the audience silently nodded. "Over the past few decades, we have improved and perfected the use and effectiveness of this apparatus such that we can pierce through the limits of the skies which we inhabit under and probe further beyond. The results we gathered from these unknown regions are very interesting indeed. And that is what we are about to show you right now." The voice of the Headmaster started vibrating due to anxiety, and the audience, including the King, felt that within themselves, too.
The Headmaster hovered his hand over the Orb. Gradually, an image appeared inside the blank crystalline sphere; the image of the Headmaster in the Throne room with the King, his family, his advisors, and his officials. "Let's begin." He said shortly.
The Headmaster's hand slowly rose slightly higher above the Orb. Slowly, the scene starts to roll upwards. The image inside the Orb went from the floor of the Throne room to the top of its ceiling, and eventually to the top of the palace, and into the night sky. The sky over the Krinosian castle was ever beautiful; full moon, behind a tranquil blanket of black dotted with stars sheepishly blinking and fiercely blazing. The navigation within the Orb ascends higher still, accelerating until the stars above became violent waterfalls of blinding light, and the audience can no longer tell if the Orb is "going" forward or upward, or both.
After an indefinite amount of time, the flooding light halted at once. The crystalline interior of the sphere became pitch dark and the orb itself was dead silent. The Headmaster raised his eyes to the audience. The audience remained silent but expectant.
"As some of you may know, this is the maximum distance we were able to prove into the sky. Somewhere after the forest of stars, our world becomes blankly dark. Some say the darkness is an infinite void, while others proposed it to be a barrier of sorts." Some members of the audience nodded silently. "Now," The Headmaster continued, "We are going to probe beyond this region."
The Headmaster closed his eyes and put his right palm fully on the Orb. He started chanting runes unknown to any member of the audience. Soon the subjects of the Headmaster conjured their own incantations. The room was filled with the hums of the Royal Court Magi. A moment later a rumbling sound was heard; as if from a far distance, yet feels so close. The sound at first trickled into the eardrums of the audience, then became a violent stampede. The very floor, pillars, and ceiling of the Throne Room itself started vibrating as the King tightened his hold on the arms of his Throne. Some members of the audience unconsciously gripped onto the sleeves of an adjacent person. But they remained silent.
A spark of light blossomed within the Orb and then transformed into a spectacular explosion. The audience instantly raised their hands to their eyes to deflect the blinding light, and fell back to the ground as if the visual display within the crystalline globe made physical impact onto their persons.
Finally the light dissipated and the audience stood up again and recollected themselves, murmuring to one another. The King looked up and around his Throne Room to make sure nothing was actually damaged; because it looked as if the dominating brilliance would decimate the entire Palace.
"We had that too, except we got used to it. I apologize if that particular scene frightened any of you." Said the Headmaster in a calm voice, but with a faint smile on his face that hints pride. "Gather around the Orb and observe, please."
The King got off to his feet. The audience encircled closely around the Orb and stared at it. At once all of them gasped, and chatters of various comments immediately started circulating around the members of the audience.
The sphere now displays a massive gate seemingly made of pure crystal and beyond lies pillars of marble and opal statues of beautiful men and women wearing armor of delicate craftsmanship and brandishing fiercely shining blades while magnificent wings stretched from their backs. The floor was marble-colored as well, and perfectly smooth, except that the observers cannot see their reflection on it as if they were actually standing on it. The chandelier hanging from the ceiling glistened with rainbow colors and a massive bell is seen swaying back and forth as if it had been rung, only that the audience could hear no sound.
One of the noblemen among the audience raised his head and demanded to the Headmaster, "How do we know if this this is not some sort of grandiose practical joke you magi have prepared for us?" his voice was shaking.
The Headmaster sighed. "Making a practical joke involving the King is something we would not risk doing; for we value our heads. Furthermore, this crystal ball is the Eye of Krinostice, an artifact forged eons back that we dare not alter it in any way, lest we be cursed to eternal damnation. To start with, though, it has been proven that the Eye of Krinostice defies all foreign magical influence, such as injections of illusionary magic. You should know this, my lord."
The audience paused and the Headmaster continued. "There is more." He waved his hand over the Eye of Krinostice and the scene disappeared altogether. A new picture appeared; one of a grim landscape. The scene started to scroll, and the observers are carried across raging volcanoes, massive and barren mountains, bottomless canyons, valleys, chasms, and eventually entered the interior of a roughly constructed but imposingly gigantic fortress-like structure. The audience saw foreboding prison cells and a throne with the picture of three grotesque skulls so horrid yet draws the eyes of the observers toward it like flame to firefly. The audience, including the King, shuddered, but found that they could not take their eyes off the three skulls. There are also chambers that seem to serve as barracks, where weapons of strange designs, in which some probably were not meant to be wielded by humans in the first place, are hung on racks and emanate a powerful aura of chaotic fury and bloodlust.
"We have seen enough, Headmaster." Finally the King gathered himself and spoke grimly. "What does all this mean?"
"It means, my King, that there are other worlds that lie beyond ours." Said the Headmaster quietly.
"And? Is that all you wish to tell us?" One of the noblewomen asked impatiently.
The Headmaster gave her a glance of slight irritation. "And, for your information, my lady, I have a proposition for a project that will allow us access to explore these unknown regions!" At once all of the audience gasped and gossip arose among themselves. "Only if our King approves of it, however." The Headmaster added. The audience turned to the King at once
"This this is dangerous! Too dangerous! We don't know what lies in those forsaken lands! Enemies or friends! Should we not be able to ward off any invaders that spawn from those-" A nobleman vehemently declared.
"Opportunities await us, fool!" another voice barged in. Soon the Throne Room became filled with heated arguments.
The King raised his hand to silence all debates. "It would do us no harm to at least explore these places covertly, is there?" The audience remained silent. "That is, however, the Royal Court Magi can accomplish their own proposition. I assume you are presenting this information to me because you need to help of the Palace, right Headmaster?" The Headmaster nodded. "What do you require of the Kingdom of Krinostice?" The King asked gently.
"To probe beyond the barriers that guard our world is one thing; to pierce it and be physically able to cross it is another matter entirely. We need a magical construct that will pierce this barrier, which is the project of our proposal. After piercing the barrier of our world, the same device will exert a force that pulls the other worlds toward our own. Once the distances between have been reduced to a certain amount, the same device will channel the fabrics of reality of our own world towards the other worlds, thereby establishing a bridge between." The Headmaster explained.
"The procedure took minutes to explain, but may take much longer than that to accomplish. Piercing the barrier of our world requires enormous amounts of raw magical energy, not to mention having to pull two entire worlds toward our own. To accomplish such feat would require the Kingdom of Krinostice to gather massive amounts of various ingredients that will produce such energy. Furthermore, the construction of the complex machinery notwithstanding, the preparation of enchantments needed to manipulate the fabric of reality requires at least a hundred and fifty years, according to our hypothesis; for magic is not something that can be rushed. I, myself, will not live that long, because sadly our research has not discovered the secrets of longevity." The Headmaster chuckled to himself, then sighed. "However, if our subsequent generations persevere, it can be done, my King. It can."
"This is a valiant attempt, indeed, Headmaster." The King smiled. "While I myself would probably not live long enough to witness the glory of its completion either, I will provide whatever mortal efforts I can muster on behalf of the Kingdom. You have my word."
"Thank you my King! May our subsequent generations forever sing and praise your generosity!" Exclaimed the Headmaster, while chatter arose among the rest of the audience. "We shall build this device on top of Mount Arreat, the highest point of elevation in the Kingdom, or anywhere else in this world. No other location is more worthy, my King."
"The only concern I would raise is whether you would be able to live on top of that barren snow and unforgiving cold. But since you suggested, you must have solutions, then. It shall be." The King nodded.
"Thank you again for your approval, my King." Bowed the Headmaster. "Now, I would like to ask for one more favor in your honor, if you will."
"Yes?" Inquired the King.
"We have not come up with a name for this device and while we are here, it just came to me that none other than our King is more worthy. Speak the words, my King, and may it live in the minds and on the tongues of every human in our world forever."
"Very well. First, though, if I may ask, what, would this device look like upon completion?"
"Well, to put it bluntly, it would resemble a round oval boulder the size of a small mountain along with machineries that will amount to the size of the Palace itself, according to our estimates."
"For a simple-looking device, I think a simple name is fitting." The King lowered his head in deep thought. "We shall name it the Worldstone, for it is the stone-like structure that connects worlds, yes?"
"It shall be, my King. The Worldstone it is then! May our King and our names persevere with the Worldstone! Forever!" Declared the Headmaster with raw but stimulating ambition.
The listeners clapped and cheered. It was from this day that the Kingdom of Krinostice saw a new light, and a new darkness.